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Dramatic Moment NATO Warship Takes Out Pirate Boat off Somali Coast in Fierce Gun Battle

This is the dramatic moment a NATO warship returned fire on a group of pirates in one of the world’s most dangerous shipping lanes.

The HNLMS Rotterdam, NATO’s flagship counter-piracy boat, was carrying out routine surveillance off the Somali coast when they spotted the suspicious dhow, a type of small boat often used by pirates.

As it approached the boat, the pirates pulled out their AK-47s and opened fire, sparking a fierce gun battle.

During the exchange, the dhow caught fire, forcing the crew members to leap into the sea.

One person on the dhow was killed and 25 people were subsequently rescued from the water by Rotterdam, which has a 350-strong crew.

Incredibly, while trying to rescue the crew from the stricken dhow, Rotterdam came under sustained fire from the shore with one of its inflatable boats suffering damage.

Gun battle: NATO warship HNMLS Rotterdam returns fire as it comes under attack from gun-toting pirates during a routine surveillance patrol off the Somali coast

Up in flames: One person on the dhow was killed and 25 others were rescued by the warship after jumping into the ocean to escape the fire on board

Commodore Ben Bekkering, the commander of the NATO Task Force, said: ‘We know that pirates are increasingly using larger dhows as mother ships. Therefore we routinely inspect them.

‘In this instance, the pirates openly chose confrontation. This does not happen often and it indicates that we are indeed impeding their operations and in doing so, pushing them to take more extreme options.’

The coastline off the Horn of Africa is renowned for its piracy and EU records show there are currently four vessels being pirated with an estimated 143 hostages held.

But the NATO missions appear to be working with 35 vessels hijacked this year, compared to 74 during 2010.

Command and conquer: Royal Marines from the British Royal Navy frigate HMS Portland destroy one pirate vessel and intercept another during counter-piracy operations in June 2009. NATO operations in the region seems to be working as the number of hijacked has gone down in recent years

Cdr Bekkering added: ‘Firstly, it is obvious that the scourge of piracy has not gone away and we need to maintain our vigilance.

‘Secondly, the risks to the pirates themselves are becoming much greater and while we regret any loss of life we will deal with any threat we encounter in a firm, robust but always proportionate manner.’

Source: Daily Mail

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Posted by on October 25, 2012. Filed under NY News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.